Those who happened to be at the 2016 Charleston Wine and Food festival finale Toasted: Up In Smoke were at arguably the finest recent gathering of barbecue pitmasters in the southeast. Wine+Food always has its barbecue contingent and has ended with a barbecue focused event the last few years and this year continued that tradition.
Set up in the parking lot at the Cigar Factory, Toasted combined local and visiting pitmasters and chefs collaborating on traditional barbecue and modern dishes. Huge cast iron cauldrons full of smoldering wood charring massive tomahawk rib-eyes, black steel pits with whole hogs smoking, impressive custom competition barbecue rigs turning out ribs, cavernous pots of Brunswick stew, and tables full of plated meat snacks filled the space and people’s bellies.
Attendees who were able to drag their over-fed and over-liquored selves had over 18 different tables of food and beverages to choose from should they have the stamina and courage to power through. Options like pastrami’d beef short-rib tacos from Fox Brothers BBQ and Taqueria del Sol sat next to whole hog from the likes of Sam Jones, Rodney Scott and Trey Dutton. Hot guts “corn dogs” came from Wyatt Dickson, Ben Adams and John Lewis, while ribs were served by Amy and Mike Mills. We also tasted smoked linguica sausage with charred spring onions and broccoli from Home Team BBQ with Tara and Michael Gallina, and rabbit and pork belly ballantine rolled in caul fat from Brannon Florie and Kent Graham — more than enough to fuel meat sweats for days to come.